COVID-19 Impact Latin America, Caribbean Tourism Industry – Research

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The COVID-19 pandemic is impacting Caribbean tourism which is in turn impacting the economies of the region. (Photo by YAMIL LAGE/AFP via Getty Images)
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News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Tues. Jan. 19, 2021: As the coronavirus pandemic continues to keep everyone locked in their home and cities, countries in the Caribbean and Latin America that rely on tourism are struggling to keep things moving.

With peak numbers of Coronavirus infections being witnessed on the north of the border and even in countries in the south, like Brazil, traveling to Latin America and the Caribbean has become a daredevil task for many.   

Reports from the Inter-American Development Bank have estimated a significant loss in the tourism industry, with countries in Latin America and the Caribbean whose economies depend on tourism expecting a shrink of about 19%. With fewer cruise ships docking on their ports and a decreasing number of tourists traveling to these countries, people’s lives are getting harder by the day. 

This level of impact was not expected by experts. The number of people traveling to these countries fell to as much as 40% when the whole world was on lockdown and struggling with a global financial crisis. But that’s not all. The closure of air and sea travel could lead to the tourism industry declining to a minimum of 40% to a maximum of 70%, as per the report. 

Early Impact Of The Pandemic And Its Complications

Before the pandemic, tourism was booming in Latin America and the Caribbean, but the economy wasn’t following pace. As their main source of income took a hit, this unstable economy fell into a much deeper hole. Experts have been trying to find solutions to stabilize the economy and restart the tourism chain without causing the virus to spread.

This becomes especially tricky with the healthcare system in Latin America as hospitals lack enough beds to accommodate nationals.

With vaccines rolling out in many countries, there is some hope though for these tourism-dependent regions. Setting proper regulations will reduce the number of people eligible to travel but will ensure that there is some inflow of capital with the few people who are eligible to travel. 

Countries like Brazil and Mexico may have a much more difficult time, as the numbers of infections within these countries have been steadily rising. Other countries like Cuba and Mexico that are also reliant on tourism are sinking in the same boat. 

In March, RIU Hotels, a chain of hotels in Mexico, announced the closure of its hotels to stop the spread of the virus. Many hotels chain later followed suit.  

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A Glimmer Of Hope As Troubling Times Continues

In yet another statement released by the Latin America and Caribbean Air Transport Association, concerns regarding strict air travel have been raised. Implementation of stricter sanitary protocols has helped reduce the spread of the virus and have shown hope of increasing the number of tourists coming into the Latin America and Caribbean region. 

Rafael Echevarne, the Director-General of ACI-LAC, said in a statement that the region’s airports have seen a gradual recovery since last June, with the number of tourists reaching up to 45% of the total passengers carried in November 2019. 

The organization has also been focusing on creating a plan of action to further increase the number of tourists and provide airports notice in advance to ensure safe operations and systematic planning. 

Clawing back from the effect of the pandemic has been rather uneven in this region, with restrictions constantly switching between strict and lenient. A ray of hope came when 900 flights were added to the Caribbean between October and November of 2020. When numbers continued to worsen in the US and other parts of the world, the restrictions were made strict again. 

While the pandemic took global tourism almost 30 years in the past, according to United Nations World Tourist Organization (UNWTO), the arrival of vaccines shows signs that tourism could get back to its peak by the end of this year. 

EDITOR’S NOTE: Vendy Adams works for a digital marketing company as a senior copywriter and social media specialist. Her writing skills are pro-level and as a side gig, she also works as an academic writer for an assignment service. In her free time, she loves watching new channels, reading politics and economics books and meditating.